SAN BERNARDINO >> It’s not a “sanctuary city,” but policies set at a higher level mean San Bernardino won’t be able to comply with the requirements Attorney General Jeff Sessions set for the city to receive help from a crime-reduction program.
Sessions sent letters to police chiefs in four cities Thursday asking them to confirm their cooperation with immigration officials, and there’s one sticking point.
The letter asks if correctional and detention facilities will honor a written request from the Department of Homeland Security to hold a foreign national for up to 48 hours beyond the scheduled release date, in order for Homeland Security to take custody of the immigrant.
That’s up to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, not the city, but the answer is no — not unless they receive legal authority to do that.
“There’s not going to be any change in our policy,” said sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Sarkis Ohannessian. “That is unconstitutional. We cannot do it — we are going to get sued. It’s a hurdle that is not going to get fixed unless (the Justice Department) comes up with some kind of a warrant program where a judge comes out with a warrant, and then we’ll be more than happy to keep them longer.”
In February, Sheriff John McMahon said he would like to be able to comply, if given the authority.
“To be quite honest, those that are wanted by ICE, that are detained in our facilities, are dangerous criminals,” McMahon said in the interview posted to the department’s YouTube page in February. “If we allow that inmate to walk out of our jail, and ICE isn’t there to pick him up,…
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